Sr. Fox ‘saddened’ over order to leave PH

Sr. Fox ‘saddened’ over order to leave PH
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Supporters of Sr. Patricia Fox deplore the Bureau of Immigration’s order for her to leave the Philippines during a rally in Manila, April 25, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

April 25, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Sister Patricia Fox said she was “saddened” over the cancellation of her missionary visa and the government’s order for her to leave the country in 30 days.

Fox, who drew the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte, was stunned by the speed she was ordered to leave the country for being an “undesirable alien”.

“I was surprised as I had thought the process was that I would have 10 days to put in a counter affidavit to answer the charges,” she said. “I am very sad that the decision at present is that I leave the Philippines.”

Duterte had ordered an investigation into the foreign missionary for allegedly engaging in partial political activities and badmouthing his administration.

Fox said she still hoped for a chance to explain her mission as a religious sister and have the Bureau of Immigration’s decision reconsidered.

The 71-year-old Australian nun has lived in the country since 1990, spending most of her time helping farmers, tribal people, and ordinary workers in the rural areas.

As a Christian, Fox said she could not help but get involved in social justice and human rights advocacies “which the church sees as integral to her mission”.

“It seems this is what has brought me into conflict with the Philippine government,” said Fox.

The nun was taken from their convent last week and detained at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila for a day.

“I may lose my right to be in the Philippines but I can never lose the learnings and beautiful memories,” she added.

Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, counsel of Fox, said that charges against her client has “no basis in fact and in law”.

He also questioned the BI’s decision to cancel Fox’s missionary visa, saying that it was issued without due process.

“Sister Pat has the right to be heard even when she is a foreigner as everyone, Filipino citizen or not, is accorded that right by the Constitution especially since she was already admitted to the country and granted missionary visa,” Pahilga said.

“The State through the BI has no right to cancel her visa without giving her the opportunity to contest the report of the Intelligence Division and to be heard on her defense,” he said.

Pahilga said they will also challenge the order by filing a motion for reconsideration with the BI.

Fox will also be filing her counter-affidavit to refute the allegations against her.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the BI decision practically junks all the good things the nun has done for the underprivileged Filipinos.

“This is very sad. All the good Sr. Pat has done to help the underprivileged, which the government has not able to serve, is glossed over and not even appreciated, while the insecurity of the present government is given weight,” he said.

“Sr. Pat has served the Filipinos for 27 years. This has not been considered at all,” Pabillo said.